A few years ago freelancing was something people did on the side to earn some extra cash. Today, a freelancing career could replace a 9 to 5 job and become your primary source of income. This has been a long time coming, but the aftermath of the COVID19 pandemic outbreak has been a catalyst to the evolution of freelance work.
At Lensa, we’ve done some brainstorming on how in today’s male dominated industries, how women can take a leap forward in their entrepreneurial careers. As a job search engine site, we’ve acquired a few years of experience in order to share following tips with our readers.
Some of the best paying jobs according Lensa, aren’t the ones you find as an employee at a company, but gigs you attract as a professional freelancer. With the evolution of technology, digital nomads are striving as freelancers who work from all around the world. But how can someone make a living from freelance alone?
The internet is full of the best be-your-own-boss job ideas promoting some of the greatest, most lucrative freelance skills you can turn into a full-time career. In order to get started with any of those, the first question you must answer is: What is your work style?
This will help not only pinpoint the area you should work in but the way you conduct your own freelance business. Because you’ll be solely reliant on yourself, running a freelance career takes a lot of self-discipline, and to create the most optimized workday, you have to know what matches the work style that is most comfortable for you.
Step 1: Don’t Quit Your Day-Job
The key to creating the best freelance career is to take it one step at a time. Freelancing doesn’t guarantee a monthly salary, not in 10 years, but certainly not in the beginning. And while a well-established freelancer with dozens of clients can count on comfortable pay even in slow months, it’s not wise to risk your financial wellbeing in the beginning phase.
Chances are that in the first few months you won’t have a huge client base, meaning you’ll have plenty of time working full-time next to your growing freelance career. Additionally, in the first few weeks, you’ll probably be working on building your online presence and portfolio instead of taking on huge projects.
Freelancers usually quit their full-time jobs when they no longer have the time for them due to their own careers. This means having enough steady clients to ensure a minimum income per month. Ideally, after a few months, you’ll have enough constant clients, and a few drop-in clients to earn enough money to feel safe enough to quit your job.
Another benefit of starting your freelance career while still working full-time is the ability to be selective. Because you don’t need the money, this puts you in a position to turn down work that doesn’t pay well or doesn’t interest you, and you have more time to find clients who fit your vision best.
Step 2: Invest in Strengthening Your Skills
As a first-time freelancer, you’ll need to spend a lot of time strengthening the skills needed to do your job well. You probably already have a talent for what you want to do, but that’s not enough to compete with the huge market you’re entering.
Whether it’s design, writing, consulting, programming, or something entirely different, it’s wise to invest in your skills before promoting yourself. This can be done with the help of short courses, or you can teach yourself a few skills using books and the internet.
If you have the financial background and time to enroll in courses that offer a certificate, you can add that to your portfolio, strengthening your image.
Step 3: Define Your Ideal Client
In order to avoid having to accept any gig that comes your way, it’s wise to create an ideal image of your preferred clients to target that niche directly. Do you want to offer consultation for huge empires, build websites for small businesses, or write blog posts for individuals? Do you have brands in mind you want to work for or a cause you’d like to contribute to?
Deciding who you want to work for is very important when advertising yourself, and possibly the most important thing when pitching your services. It will also help you stay within strict boundaries that will benefit you in the long run.
Step 4: Work on Your Online Presence and Portfolio
Creating an online presence is crucial in today’s world, especially for self-employed remote workers. As a freelancer you’ll probably be working mostly online, therefore you’ll be looking for and communicating with clients on the internet.
As a start, you’ll need social media presence, and possibly a website in the future. Try to think of yourself as a brand, and create a name for your company, and a logo that prospective clients will recognize. It’s also wise to create templates for anything you need. For example proposals, questionnaires, invoices, etc.
But your most defining and most used template will be your online portfolio. While it’s possible to without having an accessible portfolio website, you’ll attract more attention by posting your portfolio online.
This can be designed as a personal blog where you showcase your certificates, skills, expertise, and add relevant experiences, projects, and recommendations if you have any. Most importantly, it should include contact information, and if your prices are fixed, even a price sheet.
You should always be working on broadening your portfolio, which is why it’s important to save every project you work on and add them to the site instantly. It’s incredibly hard and time-consuming to browse through months of projects and place them on your site.
Step 5: Find Your First Clients
Thanks to the internet, you can find your first clients even as a novice freelancer. Apart from searching for gigs, and posting your portfolio everywhere, there are also plenty of social media groups dedicated to freelancers looking for jobs. It’s wise to start there, as you’ll likely attract some great clients and network with other freelancers.
If you’re planning on attracting people using your social media profiles, it’s important to have a constant presence through posts, pictures, videos, stories, and anything else you can think of. It’s also a great method to use Facebook’s and Instagram’s marketplace to advertise your services.
Starting your journey as a full-time freelancer takes a lot of self-discipline, determination, and a lot of work. You’re trading your 9 to 5 job to a 24/7 commitment, but the upside is, that you can ensure that you enjoy your job. Once you find 3-5 reliable clients and some promising one-time gigs, you can be sure that you’re on the right track to becoming a full-time digital nomad.